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Monday July 31

  • STREET BALLET: An orphanage in Nairobi is trying to make street kids' lives a little better. "As well as being given an education, they are offered the opportunity to learn ballet - not a dance form much practised in the region." BBC 07/30/00

  • NO RIGHT TO DANCE: Martha Graham heir withdraws license for Martha Graham Company to perform the late choreographer's work. CBC 07/30/00

  • Sunday July 30

    • FATHER OF MODERN DANCE: This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nijinsky's death. His choreography is a study in grace and brutality, in his "madness" he invented modern dance, he was 50 years ahead of his time, his life was an erotic spectacle - narcissistic, instinctive, free - and his work captured the emerging rhythm of mind for a generation that was heading into the fearsome carnival of the Great War. But Nijinsky was a sleek gazelle trotting round the edge of a precipice; he was a primitive: how did he come to be the patron saint of modern art? The Telegraph (London) 07/30/00

    Friday July 28

    • WHO OWNS DANCE: The board of the beleaguered Martha Graham company wonders if Graham's work is really protected by copyright. They may go to court to find out. "The implications of such a ruling would be huge. Choreography was not explicitly protected by copyright law until 1978, so most works created before then would be affected. A ruling that there is no copyright protection would mean that anyone could perform such early Graham works as her 1944 masterpiece, 'Appalachian Spring.' " Washington Post 07/28/00

    Wednesday July 26

    • WHO OWNS A DANCE? Increasing sophistication about preserving the legacy of dance is creating a welter of problems for dance companies wishing to revive older choreography. “There was a time when the chief impediment to reviving dances was that the work was out of fashion. Now, death and the notion of ownership have seemingly created even more insurmountable problems.” New York Times 07/26/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Tuesday July 25

    • DANCE THIS: Some 700 people from 20 dance organizations around America gathered in Washington DC last week to talk about their art. "As it happened, marginalization and globalization arguably formed the twin themes of the conference - especially the virtual invisibility of dance in American culture, but also the limited voice within dance of various constituencies such as African Americans, gay people and world dance advocates." Los Angeles Times 07/25/00

    Monday July 24

    • FACE-SAVERS ALL AROUND: The National Ballet of Canada's settlement with fired dancer Kimberly Glasco was a face-saving measure all around. Glasco could have danced again, but chose not to. And the National Ballet, "clinging to the red herring with which it had sought to deflect public opinion from the main issue in Glasco's unlawful dismissal suit, claims the settlement 'upholds the principle of artistic freedom and authority.' Freedom to do what? Treat dancers any way it likes in total disregard of labour law? National Post 07/24/00

    Sunday July 23

    • RIGHTEOUS SEPARATION: The National Ballet of Canada's settlement of the suit with dancer Kimberly Glasco for $1 million was a good result. The situation had been at impass. "Ms. Glasco thought she was the next Karen Kain, an opinion not shared by others. And the ballet forgot that, in Canada, you can't just fire people at will. You need experts. You need procedures. You need outplacement counsellors." Toronto Globe and Mail 07/22/00

      • GLASCO SPEAKS: Why I had to fight this. Toronto Globe and Mail 07/21/00

    • THE BALANCHINE LEGACY: "There are plenty of cognoscenti in the US who believe that Peter Martins is making a bad job of honouring the god [Balanchine], and they regularly say so in print, describing him as a man of little taste and much ambition. There are others who argue that he has, in fact, done well, his energy shown by the 100 ballets performed in the 50th anniversary season last year, and his refusal to allow NYCB to become a museum company, which would have been anathema to Balanchine himself." The Telegraph (London) 07/23/00

    • BODY BEAUTIFUL: Artists have been grappling with issues of beauty since there were first artists. "Who defines the body beautiful, and how has this definition been affected by feminism, multiculturalism, mass media and new technologies? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what kinds of images still have the power to produce such sensory experience?" New York Times 07/23/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Friday July 21

    • BALLET COMPANY SETTLES SUIT WITH DANCER: The National Ballet of Canada and dancer Kimberly Glasco have reached a settlement on her charges of wrongful dismissal. Glasco gets money and won't return to the company as a judge had ordered. Glasco sued for unlawful dismissal when the National Ballet decided not to renew her contract after it expired in June last year. Glasco claimed she'd been fired illegally for speaking out as a dancer representative on the board of directors against artistic director James Kudelka's new Swan Lake." CBC 07/20/00

    • CLASSIC FILL-IN: The Bolshoi's performance of  Balanchine's "Symphony in C," Wednesday night at Lincoln Center began a day earlier with a backstage drama. The first movement of the classic was led on Wednesday night by Anastasia Goriacheva, who was celebrating her 19th birthday. Yet until Tuesday, she had never even rehearsed the role; when another of the company's rising young stars, injured herself, Ms. Goriacheva was plucked out of the corps to replace her and put into nonstop rehearsal mode." New York Times 07/21/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Thursday July 20

    • THE BOLSHOI BALLET IS BACK in New York after a 10-year absence. “By any cultural standard the return is a major event. The engagement is sold out: the company's mystique remains intact. It is no secret, however, that the Bolshoi has had its ups and downs. Not only do aesthetics change, but reality intrudes as well. More than 20 years of turmoil within the company, a turnover in directors and an adjustment to a society itself in turmoil will take its toll. New York Times 07/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • A TWINKLE IN YOUR EYE, A TWINKLE IN YOUR TOE: In 1932 the Nicholas brothers were the youngest dancers ever to showcase at the Cotton Club and the first performers allowed to mix with a white audience. They danced with George Balanchine, Gene Kelly, and can count Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov as some of their biggest fans.  After a life of tap dancing around racial barriers, chasing women, and approaching life with gusto, Harold Nicholas died this month at age 79. LA Weekly 07/20/00

     July Tuesday July 18

    • QUEEN OF THE KIROV: "Altynai Asylmuratova, the reigning ballerina of the Kirov, has always been a special performer, a deeply intense dancer who can squeeze every nuance out of a drama. She gives of herself so completely that it is not surprising to hear that she finds today's cool aesthetic a little too contrived and calculated." The Times (London) 07/18/00

    Sunday July 16

    • A HOME FOR DANCE: Jacob's Pillow began as a modest showcase for the choreography of modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn. Now it is one of the most intense hotbeds of international dance activity in the world, each summer presenting "ballet to butoh, modern dance to hip-hop. With companies from the United States, France, Japan, Ireland, Africa, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Canada, and The Netherlands, the festival's current season is one of its most diverse to date." Christian Science Monitor 07/16/00

    • BALLET THAT'S BIG: The Bolshoi takes America by storm. But this is a different Bolshoi than the one we've seen before. "It is a different company now. Each time chooses its own dancers." New York Times 07/16/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Friday July 14

    • "I OFFERED TO BE PEACEMAKER: "Barry Fischer envisioned an intimate program for a few dozen high school and college students from around the country. He imagined a place where they could take classes in the rigorous Graham technique and learn some of her repertoire. The three-week program, scheduled to start this Sunday, was to culminate with a performance of excerpts of Graham works danced by members of the Martha Graham Ensemble, a junior company." And then came this week's call for a boycott from unemployed Graham dancers. Washington Post 07/14/00 

    Wednesday July 12

    • GRAHAM DANCERS SPEAK OUT: The Martha Graham Company dispute has turned nasty, with the company's board and its artistic director publicly feuding. And the dancers? "Since the board voted to close shop, they have had no work, no pay and no daily classes to maintain the technique so crucial to performing Graham's dances. But they had mostly kept quiet about it. Until now. In a statement issued this week, the dancers are calling for a boycott of the same choreography that they have striven to perfect." Washington Post 07/12/00

    • BEING POLITICAL BY BEING APOLITICAL: "Two years ago, Bill T. Jones was approached by Arena de le Sol in Bologna, Italy, to make a dance depicting the influence of Latin culture in the New World. Though confronted with issues of colonization and what Jones describes as cultural 'collision,' he decided to make a poetic rather than a political response to the unjust historical truths surrounding these native communities. 'Ultimately, I'm trying to enter this on the level of culture and art,' he says. 'I'm trying to tell the story as I see it, and what that looked like in terms of music.' " Village Voice 07/11/00

    • RUSSIA'S FINEST: "The atmosphere has been electrifying" throughout the Kirov Ballet's recent five-week run at Covent Garden. "Three times in the 20th century the Russians have come to teach us a lesson in the lively arts. What has sustained them through the century is a peculiar blend of collective outlook and blind conviction." The Telegraph (London) 07/12/00

    • THE QUESTIONABLE TOURIST BALLETS: St. Petersburg is the home of great ballet, home of famed Russian dance companies. "Unfortunately, virtually every package tour of St. Petersburg feels the cultural necessity of including a ballet performance in its offering - rather as Paris tours once felt equally compelled to provide the Folies Bergere, or Le Moulin Rouge and Pigalle. But the tourists' ballets, as I recently discovered to my cost, are occasionally questionable. New York Post 07/12/00

    Monday July 10

    • DANCE SOLIDARITY: Dancers of the now-disbanded Martha Graham Company will release a letter today asking that "any dance company currently licensed to perform the choreographer's work refrain from doing so until the Graham dancers themselves have come to a workable agreement with the Martha Graham Trust and director Ron Protas and are able to resume their own performance of Graham's pieces." Chicago Sun-Times 07/10/00

    Sunday July 9

    • MONEYDANCE: "As a cultural phenomenon, Riverdance has been closely parsed from top to bottom, hailed by some as an expression of a confidently globe-conquering new Ireland, dismissed by others as a pile of Celtic clichés. What has been ignored, however, is the gargantuan financial muscle that promises to make Riverdance the country's biggest cultural export. The three Riverdance shows touring the world, along with their myriad merchandising spin-offs, have grossed an estimated £½ billion to date." The Sunday Times 07/09/00

    • NEW RELEASE: "Dancers are flocking to classes in a number of 'body therapies' or holistic systems that explore different ways of moving effortlessly and efficiently. Many of them started as a response to performance strain and injury. But now 'release technique' has begun to fuel an aesthetic shift that could be the next great swerve for modern and postmodern dance." Los Angeles Times 07/09/00

    • INCIPIENT ILLNESS: Shutting down the venerable Martha Graham Dance Company a few weeks ago was only another example of the difficult time dance is having in America. Everywhere dance companies are floundering. Cleveland Plain Dealer 07/09/00

    Friday July 7

    • STARVATION SUIT: Just days after a 15-year British study and a controversial new book were released both alleging that young ballet dancers’ training promotes eating disorders, the mother of former Boston Ballet dancer Heidi Guenther has filed a lawsuit against the company and its artistic director for being “recklessly and grossly negligent” in asking Guenther to lose weight to join the corps de ballet. Guenther died of anorexia nervosa in 1997 at age 22, weighing just 93 pounds. National Post 07/07/00

    • JEDI DANCER: Filmmaker George Lucas has hired San Francisco choreographer Michael Smuin to choreograph scenes for the next "Star Wars" movie. "George envisioned the saber fight to be more dancelike this time,'' said Smuin. "It took three people to accomplish this: a sword master, a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and a dancer with the Australia Ballet." San Francisco Chronicle 07/07/00

    Thursday July 6

    • TWYLA THARP'S NEW COMPANY: Tired of the administrative and financial burdens, twelve years ago Twyla Tharp dissolved her dance company and took to the road freelancing. Now she's back with a new company. New York Times 07/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • DISHONORING MARTHA GRAHAM: If you thought things were bleak for the Martha Graham Company las month when it disbanded, they're even worse now. "The company board has changed the locks on the warehouse where it keeps its costumes and scenery out of fear that its former artistic director would take them. That artistic director, Ron Protas, whom Graham herself chose to carry on her work, operates by cell phone from a location he refuses to reveal and is working to prevent the company from performing any of Graham's dances." New York Times 07/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Sunday July 2

    • CITY BALLET'S ROAD TO NOWHERE: New York City Ballet has invested heavily in its Diamond Project to create new works. That should be cause for celebration. "What I feel instead is a profound sense of futility, watching a company that, despite the richest resources and the most compelling reasons to maintain its former glory, cannot find a viable contemporary identity and is, instead, steadfastly marching down a path to nowhere." New York Magazine 07/02/00

    • A HEROIC SEASON: American Ballet Theatre survived an uncommon number of injuries and produced a season of surprises. New York Times 07/02/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

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